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Credo - Against Reason CD (album) cover

AGAINST REASON

Credo

 

Neo-Prog

3.86 | 227 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Is it reasonable?"

Every so often a new album comes along which reassures us that it is still possible for a band to come up with material which is of the quality we enjoyed all those years ago when prog was in its heyday. These days, with the word prog no longer being a dirty word, many bands are finding it convenient to add prog to their CV's, pulling the name in directions for which it was never intended. It seems though Credo are intent on creating music for which the epithet progressive rock was truly meant.

By any standard, "Against reason" is a mighty album. Released some 6 years after the acclaimed "Rhetoric", and only the band's third full album since their formation almost 20 years ago, "Against reason" boasts an unchanged line up. The highly talented (and indeed sought after) keyboards player Mike Varity (also of Landmarq, Shadowland and Janison Edge) takes charge of production, with the band collectively sharing the writing credits throughout.

With just eight tracks, and a running time of around 70 minutes, it is immediately apparent that the tracks here have been carefully nurtured to their full fruition. The band play to their strengths throughout; Mark Colton's vocals are perfectly suited to what we can conveniently label neo-prog; Mike Varity either lays down the lush swathes of sound on which the tracks are founded or flies off on one of his wonderful solos and Tim Birrell is surely one of the finest lead guitarists currently recording. Not just in terms of dexterity, but in the perfect lead guitar sound he has developed. The band is rounded off by the powerhouse of Jim Murdoch on bass and drummer Martin Meads.

The album opens with the 10 minute "Staring At The Sun" (this song can be heard on the band's website), an environmentally friendly number which hits the ground running with an attention grabbing synth burst introducing the album's most anthemic track. "Cardinal sin" ventures into sensitive and emotive areas, exploring the trauma suffered by victims when bringing the guilty to justice. Birrell's lead guitar solo captures the emotions of the song beautifully, while Colton's vocals expose the full drama of the lyrics.

"Intimate strangers" is a softer portrayal of the breakdown of a relationship. The track features the voices of band in full harmony, before concluding with a fine instrumental section. The title track is the only completely instrumental track on the album. A relatively brief piece, it offers a relaxed interlude between the heavier numbers which surround it.

"Insane" takes on the weighty topic of what people will do, especially in terms of violence, in the name of religion. Understandably, this is probably also the heaviest track musically too, Colton beseeching "Insane, are we insane?". "Reason to Live" is the shortest track on the album, and thus acts as a second respite among its weighty peers. The song is a reflective harmony piece with atmospheric floating synths.

"Conspiracy (MCF)" deals with the dearth of truth and conspiracy theories in modern society in a "Jesus he knows me" (Genesis) sort of way. Indeed there is a bit of a Genesis feel to the track in the Banks like synth breaks too. The album closes with what for me is the best of the bunch. "Ghosts of yesterday" reminds me in passing of the earlier days of Arena, and in particular "Solomon". Lyrically the song looks at the human impact of political decisions, in particular those relating to traditional industries. Like "Solomon", this 13+ minute epic is performed at a regal pace (dictated by the ticking clock which opens the song). Beginning as a quasi-acoustic number, the track builds through strong melodies and repeated refrains in classic neo-prog style. Birrell's lead guitar never sounded better, but the whole band are in their element here. As the piece reaches its crescendo in a melting pot of soaring guitars, sways of synths and repeating refrains, we are lifted ever higher by the majesty of the music.

In all, a truly excellent set, which sees Credo maturing into one of the finest of the bands we refer to as neo-prog. Hopefully "Against reason" will find the global success it warrants.

"Is it reasonable?" proclaims the graffiti on the back of the accompanying booklet. Yes, it is entirely reasonable.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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